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Ongoing Projects: What's Running at Present

IT Sessions, Library Assistance & Academic Tutorials

NYM currently has solar/hydro power and some laptops, so we are looking for extremely patient volunteers to help assist the staff with learning basic computer skills. No qualifications are required. Volunteers are welcome to assist our staff to provide general computer classes to the wider community. We have a wonderful, kind and patient librarian and we are always looking for people who are happy to assist him with themes and ideas to make the library reach out to more people (e.g. promotions, story-telling, quizzes...)
Volunteers are welcome to provide activity-based tutorials in some of the subjects covered in the Malawian National Curriculum, especially those that have the highest fail rate: English, Mathematics and Science (primary or secondary). The focus should be on group work and collaborative learning, rather than following the standard form of a classroom-based lesson. There are many donated books and materials at the centre from English schools; however resources are still limited so volunteers should have a lively passion for their subject and the ability to be creative with lesson planning techniques!

We are also looking for teachers to assist directly at the schools - you will need either a teacher training qualification or a university degree in the subject you wish to teach, and the minimum commitment is 6 months. 

Youth Initiatives

We are looking for volunteers to assist in promoting education and healthy play-time for those attending the youth centre at NYM, as well as help to run the youth-orientated initiatives that stem from it. Art, music and drama are an important part of Malawian culture and with the number of orphans rising we aim to encourage, support and nurture the youth in the community. We have a daily nursery (Monday-Friday) for 2-5 year olds, as well as a junior youth club for under 15’s running three times a week that focuses on games and abstract learning on health, culture and other community development topics.
We have a wonderful, young and passionate youth leader at Nyumba ya Masambiro who is in charge of all of the youth activities stemming from the community centre. He manages both the nursery and junior youth club, helps to organise the senior youth club meetings, oversees all school initiatives such as student sponsorships, and initiates sporadic sports tournaments and educational quizzes whenever possible. If you are experienced in youth leadership and development schemes then we welcome you to work alongside him in order to look at the 'bigger picture' of developing the youth department into an environment where young adults can genuinely tackle overcoming their limited economic and social contexts and start to create a positive and healthy impact both individually and within their wider communities.

Business Projects

We have implemented a number of various micro businesses in order to keep the free-of-charge educational initiatives at the centre sustainable in the longer term. These include the construction of three coops for rabbits and chickens, the sale of nutritious crops from our gardens, rental fees for a solar powered fishing light scheme, charging fees for a portable battery pack scheme, individual charging for phones and laptops, and sporadic sales of donated items such as clothes or phones. We are looking for individuals skilled in business/finance to work alongside our staff to train them in general business practices and philosophies.


  The construction phase of NYM is now complete and a large part of the labour force consisted of unskilled members of the community from in and around Ruarwe that were trained in rammed earth building techniques. The centre is a simple structure with electricity provided by hydro and solar power. There is a large library, a life skills room, two teaching rooms and a youth centre. NYM has also built two rammed earth laboratories at nearby secondary schools. Future construction projects will include large-scale maintenance of NYM and the laboratories, a playground in the village and volunteer accommodation at Zulunkhuni River lodge. All building projects take place between April and November each year (due to the rainy season) and are dependent on qualified volunteers and Phunzira finances.

We are looking for engineers, builders and carpenters who have good communication skills to come and work alongside smaller groups of predominantly unskilled labourers. Those without specific skills that want to get involved in the building process are also most welcome!

Management Training

NYM is currently split into three departments (Education, Youth & Business) that are designed to be eventually co-managed by local members of staff. We are looking for help with management training on:
  1.  Maintaining and analysing day-to-day operating procedures
  2. Monthly reports and progress analysis
  3. Basic accounts (cash flows, balance sheets, income/expenditure analysis)
  4. Basic IT assistance with Word and Excel
  5. People management and formulating disciplinary procedures
  6. Sustainable growth and development
  7. Group cohesion and team games
If you are interested you should have relevant qualifications or experience in management or leadership training, and you should be able to commit to a minimum of three months.
There is always scope to run other useful and contextually relevant life skills workshops at the centre (on topics such as renewable energy, water sanitation etc.) - please email with your ideas! 

We usually have many initiatives on the go at any given moment, such as managing the gardens at NYM, assisting with the maintenance of a hydroelectric system, research into pressing seeds for cooking oil... and much more!

If you are interested in joining us then please go to our Volunteers Page for more information...

Community Health Projects

Educational Workshops

Educational workshops are running sporadically through Nyumba Ya Masambiro relating to HIV and AIDS, nutrition and sanitation. These workshops are available for all age groups within the community. There is plenty to get involved with. Please have a look at the Information Pack for further details.


HIV is a complex issue with many cultural and socio-economic factors shaping the epidemic. There is currently little forum for discussion and it is seen as a taboo subject to many. Gender inequalities mean that women and children are even more vulnerable in such an environment. Lack of education and understanding only serves to create higher levels of fear and stigmatism, further ostricising people affected by HIV. This, combined with poor access to health services, provides little incentive for people to get tested.

Phunzira aims to work alongside local groups in Ruarwe, with the aim to:

» Improve access to treatment and other health services e.g. nutritional support, home based care
» Raise awareness in Ruarwe and surrounding communities
» Run educational sessions suitable for men and women of all age groups

The Health Boat

One of the greatest challenges in Ruarwe is access to secondary heath care. While Ruarwe health centre offers essential basic health care it is limited in terms of available investigations and treatment, and patients will often need to be referred to the district level hospital. The nearest hospital is located 60km south along the lakeshore but due to the lack of infrastructure in the area it is extremely difficult to access.

This exciting health initiative aims to provide a boat that will be dedicated to serving the community’s health needs well into the future.

Ruarwe Health Centre

Ruarwe health centre is a government health facility that has not been operational for several years. During this time villagers have had to travel exceptionally long distances, usually by foot, just to seek basic medical attention. The result is that people were falling sick and, in many cases, dying of otherwise treatable diseases. In April 2011 Phunzira assisted in reopening the health centre but it continues to suffer from staffing problems and can be closed for many months at a time. Despite these ongoing issues Phunzira is very proud to have initiated this link and continues to support it in the following ways:

»     Recruiting volunteer health professionals

»     Ensuring treatment for common and emergency medical presentations is available

»     Conducting research in the local area into community health needs

»     Targeting specific and relevant health issues e.g. HIV, malaria

»     Raising funds and acquiring donated medical equipment


Still interested?